1996 Audi S2

1996 Audi S2

While some may feel that my foray into BMW ownership has swayed me to the dark side of German motoring, I still have a very large soft spot for the classic inline-5 powered Audis. And one of the most outstanding deals, until very recently, was the S2 range. Oft copied in the United States as it was never offered, the S2 was available in frequently seen Coupe and far less found sedan and Avant variations. The last is best known in its ultimate development as the Porsche-built RS2, but even the standard S2 range was nothing short of impressive. With 220 horsepower available from the 3B and later ABY turbocharged dual-cam inline-5s driven through all four wheels, they weren’t the fastest off the line but could hang with their countrymen easily on the fly. As they near legal importation status, prices have started to rise slightly – but they’re still quite affordable compared to many other contemporary limited-run performance options. This ’96 is a great example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Audi S2 on Car and Classic

1998 Audi Cabriolet

1998 Audi Cabriolet

Looking for a performance car? This isn’t it. It’s also about as far from a classic Audi as you could get in the U.S. market; there was no turbo, no inline-5, no manual and no quattro drivetrain. But the B4 Audi Cabriolet was ironically the last 1980s holdover for the company, and it survived until somewhat amazingly 1998 here, with the basic chassis construction from 1985. To the end, it remained a competent and handsome convertible, a conservative alternative to the more expensive Mercedes-Benz drop-tops and the flashier BMWs. The Cabriolet really only came in one configuration here, with the 2.8 liter V6 linked to the 4-speed automatic driving the front wheels. On the fly, this was a fine setup and certainly potent enough to rustle your hair, though it was far from lighting it on fire. Pricing at the end of the run was surprisingly high at $34,600 base price. Added to that were the packages many came with for the 1998 model year; Premium Package added a power roof, burled walnut wood trim; Kodiac leather seat upholstery, remote locking and alarm. Ironically for the convertible, the “All Weather Package” added heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, and heated door locks. Also optional for the end of the run were the Votex Competition 16″ 6-spoke alloy wheels and even high backed sport seats; both (especially the latter) are very rare. Today the market ignores these last B4s, and often they can be had for a song:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi Cabriolet on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T

In a very small subset of enthusiasts, early Audi chassis are nearly as legendary as the BMW E30. Robust, well built and refined, Audi over-engineered most of its small chassis starting with the B2 because it was the platform that launched the legendary turbocharged Quattro. While the normally aspirated versions lacked the punch of their bigger brothers and the acceleration curves could be somewhat laughable, they still offered plenty of entertainment when driven hard. I have a video of my Coupe GT at Watkins Glen – heading up the long uphill straight, we’re shouting out numbers as they barely increase from 95-100 before flinging the car with nary a touch of the brakes into the bus stop, maniacal laughs abounding as we leap the turtles.

Clearly, though rare the small Audis are always prime for more power, and converting those earlier cars to turbocharged Quattro specs – or later RS2 replicas – has been popular since they were sold new. Today’s example, though, has different and more modern motivation than the familiar inline-5 under the hood – but they don’t get much better than this presentation and build:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T on Motorgeek

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant

If I told someone in the general public that a 21 year old, cloth interior Volkswagen rolling on steel wheels would be worth $10,000 on the open market, they’d probably laugh. After all, Volkswagens half that age are worth only around 50% of that figure. But to the general public, the moniker “1Z” means little else other than the first number and last letter. Unless they’re trying to pass some perverted field sobriety test, that combination just wouldn’t have any deeper significance. But to Volkswagen enthusiasts, “1Z” is the password to secret hyper-milers. They’re the name of the Kingdom of special hippie-crunchy, make-your-own-gas type of automobile enthusiasts. One step from Moonshiners, they take showers about as often as they wash their cars (read: not frequently). They test the suspensions of their cars with how much weight they can carry and or tow at a given time. The term “low mileage” is not in their vocabulary, instead proudly patting themselves on the back for the hundreds of thousands of miles they’ve clattered slowly away. Instead of bragging about 60 m.p.h. times, they are happy to rub your nose in 60 m.p.g. claims. And though the 1Z 1.9 TDi came in a few packages stateside, they absolutely go gaga over Passat wagons of the manual variety:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant on eBay

1997 Audi Cabriolet

1997 Audi Cabriolet

For enthusiasts, the removal of the Coupe Quattro – even if it was a bit slower and softer than it could have been – and replacement with a front-drive, automatic-only convertible was a bit of a sad commentary. But it looked pretty nice, keeping the Coupe’s profile and opening the top on Audi’s foray into convertibles. Audi sold a little over 1,000 per a year for the end of the B4 run, extending the life of the model to an impressive 13 years into 1998. End of the run Cabriolet models also offered some sport options including rarely seen seats and more often sported 16″ Votex/Ronal wheels, such as this ’97 wears:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi Cabriolet on eBay

1993 Audi Coupe

1993 Audi Coupe

Though it lived a short life in the United States over only two production years in 1990 and 1991, the Audi Coupe both started before that run and continued after in Europe. Along with the rest of the B lineup, the Coupe was refreshed for the “new” B4 lineup after 1992. Most notable in this production cycle of 2-doors was the introduction of the convertible model, the new V6 engine and of course, the fan-favorite S2. However, for those with a more modest budget and interested in better fuel economy, you could still get a EA827-based motor in a 2-wheel drive configuration. Displacing the same 2 liters an with 16 valves clattering away, the 138 horsepower front driver wasn’t much of a match for the girth of the B4, but it was cheaper than the 5-cylinder quattro models:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi Coupe on eBay

1995 Audi RS2 Avant

1995 Audi RS2 Avant

Having visited Finland earlier this year for the first time, I was struck by one characteristic that all Finns seem to share. The racing driver gene. Every person I was in the car with in Finland was aggressive on the throttle but were very quick and calculating in traffic. These people mean business. Not surprising then the drivers’ exam is a bit more stringent than what we are used to stateside. To get a drivers’ license in Finland, you must pass both a summer and winter driving test. This is a great idea which should be universal. Once licensed, what should the Finn who wants to drive fast in all conditions opt for? How about this rare red rocket? The Audi RS2 Avant. This RS2 Avant for sale in Helsinki is the perfect runabout for the speed freak who needs a bit of space for family or recreational activities.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi RS2 Avant on Classic Driver

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi

Recently, I’ve been spending some time driving an Audi C6 A6 3.2 Avant. While I have a report coming on that car soon, I mention it for one reason – what happened the other day when I was filling it up. The gas light pinged on and I pulled into the station; pop the fuel door, card in, nozzle removed, then I tend to pass my time judging other people’s car choices as they fill up too. As I filled, I made my way all the way around the quite full station and had summed up the rather unhappy lives of most of the vanilla SUV drivers in my head. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was still pumping gas. Filling the Passat generally limits my prejudice party as I run out of room at 12 gallons. The 530xi allows me to make judgements on more Kia drivers, as I’ve hit 16 and change. But I had strode past 16 with ease and the numbers were still going. Concerned, I stopped and began to look for the gas pouring out of the bottom of the car, much to the bemusement of my captive audience. Unable to locate the leak, in wonder I re-engaged the trigger and watched the number on the dial climb past 18 gallons. Now, the A6 gets pretty reasonable mileage for a big, heavy car – around 23 average, over 25-26 on the highway. And all told, if you ran it dry you’d be 21.1 gallons in the whole. That makes a real-world range of over 500 miles per a tank. Sound like a lot? It’s the type of number the B4 Passat TDi laughs at.

Especially in Variant wagon form, the B4 TDi Passats have become legendary. Equipped with the 1Z motor, they’re capable of a simply bladder-busting range.…

Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Every semester at the culmination of my teaching experience with the college students who have selected my course rather innocently, I let them in on my super-secret double agent identity as your author here. Having suffered through a few too many of my lectures already, most treat the news with about the same amount of enthusiasm and interest as they do when I tell them about the Sudanese Kush Pharaohs – which is to say, none (seriously, it’s a very interesting topic. Egypt basically denies they existed!). But occasionally I get a student who is much more interested in my double-life than in my lecture notes. One such student passed through was perhaps as unexpected to me as I was to him. He nonchalantly aced the class with seeming little difficulty, but upon seeing my announcement regarding German Cars For Sale Blog, he excitedly emailed me about his shared love of Audis. He revealed that he owned a ’97 Cabriolet, which proves two things: first, smart people buy Audis, and second, Audis turn up where you least expect them. And the Cabriolet might be the least expected Audi Audi made – coming from a manufacturer renowned for turbocharged inline-5, manual all-wheel drive coupes, sedans and wagons came a front-wheel drive, automatic only (in the U.S.) V6 2-door convertible. Expensive, a bit slow and soft compared to the competition, the Cabriolet sold slowly with only around 1,000 units moved per a year during its availability here with a total of 5,439 imported through 1998. I think a fair amount of fans view the B4 Cabriolet as the least interesting of the Audi lineup in the 1990s, but to me it’s always been a very pretty and underrated car. In particular, the rear 3/4 view is very attractive and the shape changed little with its progeny.…

Feature Listing: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro

Feature Listing: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro

Back in February I took a look at a very rare and somewhat obscure end to the B4 Audi lineup, the Sport 90 quattro. The A4 that replaced it would become wildly successful, but really it was the underpinnings of the updated 90 that carried the dynamics of the A4. With a stout V6 under the hood and old-school mechanical all-wheel drive, these well built 90s have remained very attractive alternatives in the marketplace. I originally took a look at this car back in February, but the owner contacted us to feature the car and I was more than happy to as I really have a soft spot for these 90s.

Due respect to the E30 ix crowd, if you were to consider the 325ixs that we’ve posted and not consider this 90 quattro, you’ve got a few screws loose. The 90 quattro was long derided as underpowered compared to the competition, but in ’93 that was at least partially rectified with the addition of the 2.8 V6 motor. Though the power output wasn’t outrageous at 172, it was a robust and torquey motor that was easier to run around town than the peaky 7A 20V. Change from the B3 to B4 chassis also included substantial revisions outside, giving the 90 a new lease on life. They were well built, well engineered cars and have stood the test of time very well. Unlike their E30 ix competition, the B4 quattros were manual only. On their way out (to be replaced by the mechanically similar A4), the 90 got a special package in the “Sport 90”. Renamed from the previous 90CS models, externally there was only a subtle change to body-color side molding on the Sport models. Available in either front drive or quattro configuration, the latter included Jacquard quattro-script cloth that helped to set it apart from the regular 90s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro on Los Angeles Craigslist

1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro

1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro

Due respect to the E30 ix crowd and our own author Nate, if you were to consider the 325ix that was just posted and not consider this 90 quattro, you’ve got a few screws loose. The 90 quattro was long derided as underpowered compared to the competition, but in ’93 that was at least partially rectified with the addition of the 2.8 V6 motor. Though the power output wasn’t outrageous at 172, it was a robust and torquey motor that was easier to run around town than the peaky 7A 20V. Change from the B3 to B4 chassis also included substantial revisions outside, giving the 90 a new lease on life. They were well built, well engineered cars and have stood the test of time very well. Unlike their E30 ix competition, the B4 quattros were manual only. On their way out (to be replaced by the mechanically similar A4), the 90 got a special package in the “Sport 90”. Renamed from the previous 90CS models, externally there was only a subtle change to body-color side molding on the Sport models. Available in either front drive or quattro configuration, the latter included Jacquard quattro-script cloth that helped to set it apart from the regular 90s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro on eBay

One of One: 1992 Audi 90S Prototype

One of One: 1992 Audi 90S Prototype

From yesterday’s end of the run B2 Audi 90, today we have another special feature on a unique Audi. While the B3 heavily revised the safety, aerodynamics, comfort and luxury for the small Audi range, weight went up and power was effectively the same, meaning that the B3 was at a distinct performance disadvantage to the natural rival BMW. Audi did increase the amount of power that the B3 quattros had at their disposal with the introduction of the 7A 20V motor in 1990, but the twin-cam inline-5 wasn’t available in front drive Audis which sold in greater number. That gulf grew wider as BMW upped the power again with the new E36 chassis, now with the best part of 190 horsepower available in the 325i. To answer the competition, Audi heavily revised both its large and small chassis in for the 1991 and 1992 model years. The C4 model was introduced late in 1990 in Europe, and while Audi did away with the 200 model the new S4 ostensibly replaced it with even more sport. But the 100 saw massive changes too, with the introduction of automatic transmissions to the quattro range widening the appeal of the model. Though the V8 quattro had offered that option previously, it was a much more expensive model and the 100 was also available in Avant form. But the big change was under the hood, where a AAH 12 valve single cam 2.8 liter V6 replaced the previous NG/NF 2.3 naturally aspirated inline-5 and MC1/2 2.2 turbocharged inline-5 power units of the 100 quattro and front-drive and 200 Turbo front wheel drive models, respectively.

In the small chassis, Audi continued to offer two different chassis levels for the newly introduced for 1992 B4. Carrying over from the C4 range was the same 172 horsepower 2.8 V6, powering either all four wheels or the front wheels only.…

1993 Audi S2

1993 Audi S2

One of the most popular tuning swaps in the Audi world until quite recently was to slot a 3B/AAN turbocharged 20V motor into a B3 coupe. The “Ersatz” (replacement) S2 required a fair amount of custom engineering, but you got a sleeper package that was capable of some serious performance that the U.S. bound Coupe quattro with its normally aspirated 7A 20V inline-5 lacked. For an effectively an entire generation these custom turbocharged examples have held a special place in the market, worth more than generally every other Audi from the period, but that’s changing. Now it’s 2016 and the market has awoken to the original Quattro; really pristine examples have shot through the roof in terms of pricing. But the bigger thorn in the side for custom-made S2s is that the real factory built S2s are now importable to the U.S.. While that’s not the easiest road to travel, if you search around you can find some real budget examples of the real-deal original S2 for much less than the asking price of U.S. bound replica cars. While this 1993 is still a few years from legal importation, it certainly gets me thinking about what could be:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S2 on Classic Driver

Motorsports Monday: 1992 Audi 80 quattro Supertourisme

Motorsports Monday: 1992 Audi 80 quattro Supertourisme

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Audi seemed a bit lost in terms of direction of its motorsports programs. With the death of Group B following the development of the monster S1 E2 Quattro, Audi turned to the 200 to lead its racing brigade from Group A rally to the crazy Trans-Am effort. That would continue with the introduction of the V8 quattro, campaigned in the DTM in 1991 and 1992 before being banned. But focus would return to the smaller chassis cars in the early 1990s, with Audi introducing a line of Super Touring 80s and the most memorable of the bunch, the flame spitting Audi 90 IMSA GTO racers. Though few remember the 80 STW, it was run extensively in the DTM and Italian Super Touring series and paved the way for the later A4 STW that would dominate many international touring classes in 1996. But there was a lesser known development, that of the ROC engineered 80 quattro Supertourisme. Built by ROC in 1991 on behalf of Audi Sport for the French Super Touring class, it was unlike any of the super touring cars Audi produced:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi 80 quattro Superturisme at Jean Lain Vintage

1994 Audi RS2 Avant

1994 Audi RS2 Avant

Why would anyone even contemplate paying $35,000 for a 21 year old, complicated and turbocharged Audi wagon that you can’t register in the U.S. for 4 more years? Because of the badge that adorns the front – the magical “Renn” added to the S2 badge, along with the legendary name Porsche scripted below. That meant that this relatively unassuming Audi 80 quattro Avant had been produced in Zuffenhausen rather than Ingolstadt and had added a healthy dose of even more “Sport” to the small chassis. Ostensibly, though the Sport Quattro was the first “RS” vehicle, the RS2 was the first to wear the badge which has become synonymous with Audi’s speed department. For many Audi aficionados, though the RS vehicles have become much faster and more luxurious, just like the 500E and the M3 Audi has never made a car better in its overall execution than the original. Not that it was slow by any means; Porsche’s massaging of the inline-5 resulted in 311 horsepower – even more than the Sport Quattro had from essentially a very similar motor – so despite being much heavier than the Sport had been, the RS2 wasn’t much slower; sub-5 seconds to 60 and a top speed north of 160 mph. Along the way, it was capable of bullying everything outside of a supercar; yet this car also established the move from Audi’s 2-door “halo” vehicle to a long line of fast five doors. Porsche also upgraded the brakes and wheels with Brembo units and 17″ “Cup 1” wheels creating a signature link. So, too, was the color signature; original called “RS Blue” rather than the color name it’s often mistaken for – the later Nogaro – the bright blue is still the go-to shade for Audi’s fastest. Even within its fast contemporaries, this car was legendary, and the upgrades to the motors and wheels spawned an entire generation of enthusiasts to turn up their inline-5s stateside.…